If you visited this page a couple of Mondays ago, and I was still the blithering disoriented blogger that I was, you would have probably read the first “draft” of the below article.
And I wouldn’t have forgiven myself for that.
I was all set to writing my own thoughts about the last installment of the Harry Potter franchise the very Sunday afternoon after I watched it. But I guess I kind of hesitated because I was way too consumed with conflicting thoughts and feelings to be objective.
Because clearly, how do you write something about that? How do you go about letting go of ten years’ worth of memories, lessons, adventures, moments? Surely, it’s not as easy or we’d probably be simply moving on without second thoughts. It’s all confusing, with emotions switching from light to heavy. We can only try and grab on everything solid to keep us from shaking madly until, for all it’s worth, we can only think about how it all ends.
A couple of weeks ago, when I entered the theater to watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, I didn’t have any other expectations than the fact that my next two hours would be very, very emotional.
And I was right. There was a collective tension, excitement, and sadness about the theater that somehow, it would be hard to miss the point of everything . In the end, though, everything was simply . . . indescribable. Which brings me home to the idea that I don’t even know how to start writing all of this.
The whole of the following week, therefore, was spent thinking about the movie in all its aspects. And, okay, seeing it again. That was when I decided to simply categorize my thoughts about the movie–and go from there.
Well, I still don’t know what to talk about when I say cinematography. But right now, all I want to say is that: I am a bit confused as to my assessment of the general physicality of the movie. I watched it in 3D, so I guess there was more to the visual experience than what would normally be there. The experience was nice enough, especially during the opening scenes where Dementors seemed to float exactly next to you, at Gringotts, and the time when Voldemort was torn into pieces.
I also liked the capturing of most scenes, like the ruined Diagon Alley that set the mood for further destructive parts of the film. The effects were as daunting as Bellatrix, too. The Battle was carried out more magnificently than any Spartan movie–let’s just say I never imagined there could be thousands of Death Eaters.
The best cinematographic part probably was the time when Hogwarts was being destroyed wall by wall during the battle. Hogwarts gave the most of heartaches: imagine that entire majesty of a school being teared down brick by brick. It was not emphasized in such a way that frames were dedicated to the ruins, but it was there in the background–silently falling apart but deafeningly painful.
However, the visual journey was sort of limited because there was hardly any new sites to feature. And I think the movie being of fantasy type didn’t really help in leveling-up the excitement field–I suppose people will just take it for granted now, that’s why.
I also think I have to give the best round of applause to the film’s DOP for the great shots. Capturing everything was so difficult to do in a fashion that would not take the light off the background, while knowing that all your audience would want is to drink in piece by piece the sights of their favorite (I mean lead) characters. But the framings were beautiful, with the most stars to that part where the protective enchantments everyone was casting began to trickle all around Hogwarts.
HITS AND MISSES
While I’m pretty much expecting that this final Harry Potter movie would not stick religiously with the book, I still found a few deletions/changes as more than striking.
I was very particular with the final duel between Harry and Voldemort because it was when everything about the two of them will be revealed. Alas, it did not happen the way I imagined it to be. Which was more difficult to be merciful with because at the time I was reading the book, I have already somehow created a vivid movie-version of it–complete with exactly the faces of Harry and Voldemort and the setting at Hogwarts. Hence, the disappointment.
The same feeling extends to the fact that Dumbledore’s past was 90% removed from the movie. I would have liked that, partially because it would’ve included Jamie Campbell Bower and mostly because it could add color to Dumbledore’s life. You know, he’s always portrayed as very majestic so much so that flaws and dark pasts would be utterly welcomed.
I also thought that I could’ve done better with inclusion of the scene at Ravenclaw tower–that one where the Carrows caught Harry, who was then saved by McGonagall. It could’ve been a very touching scene, what with McGonagall being exactly like a protective mother to Harry.
And the worst deletion? The part where Percy makes up with his family. Yeah. I’m not a big fan of Percy (because he’s a git and all) but I think the very essence of fighting for your family and for the greater good of everyone around you would have been captured by that reconciliation.
But though I’m not as partial with these, and more other scenes (oh and seriously, an all white frame for Dumbledore and Harry’s last conversation?), I still admit this final movie stuck with most of the book much unlike the previous ones. The Gringotts scene was well-executed and the conversation between Harry and Griphook and the explanation from Ollivander were documented in the right manner. The explanatory scenes were crafted well enough for the non-readers to understand and the entire Deathly Hallows phenomenon was not very much lost (albeit the Cloak’s miniscule presence).
On the characters side, I thought that the idea of bringing together all possible and retrievable previous casts was a bit of a mess. There were fleeting glimpses, which I guess was understandable because the movie wasn’t at all character-centered. But I felt like there was too much people while still missing out on most of them: Grawp, Firenze, Oliver Wood, Crabbe (!), and even Nearly Headless Nick.
But okay, enough of that. Let’s focus on the delivery of those who were actually included. I’ll only talk about a few, since to rattle off is already too much (hey, I’m surprised you’ve even reached this part).
Daniel Radcliffe and Ralph Fiennes also did not fail. Their duels giving out more than what you could imagine. Although way too overrated, I thought Dan still surpassed himself–the way he very maturely delivered his Harry. I also have to say, in this movie, Voldemort defied the term villain. He could not be a villain. Bellatrix was, maybe. But Voldemort? No. He’s something else. I’m not sure what he could be, but he’s not just a villain.
While we’re on the subject of Bellatrix, let me just say Helena Bonham-Carter‘s portrayal of her Polyjuice-d self was immensely amusing. Really, the woman is a gem.
I’m afraid Emma Watson had not made the most of this last film although her Hermione Granger got to show more of the emotions her 11-year-old version so lacked. She cried at the right times, delivered the best-aimed spells, and simply collected her previously frantic moods. But somehow, there was something lacking. Like it was there, but being held back by something else. Maybe it was because of the whole Ron-Hermione thing that was the focus for both of them.
And yet Rupert Grint‘s Ron was able to be edgy and superb in most of their scenes together. He was matured enough to be Hermione’s strength in this time of depression.
I must also give some thought to Tom Felton‘s Draco Malfoy. In his own way, he delivered something more than a twenty-year-old could muster. The fear, the constant hesitation, being tugged in between doing the right and preferring the wrong side his parents had chosen from him. He was a hard character to love, but easy enough to understand.
And then might I applaud Matthew Lewis too? Neville Longbottom, you might just be the Chosen One and you will definitely deliver as much as Harry had.
Lastly, but would never be the least: Maggie Smith as Professor McGonagall. I personally don’t think Hogwarts would have stood a chance in that battle without her. I mean, c’mon. She could have taken on every single Death Eater that threatened her students. I was so glad Jo had given her this much of a highlight.
DEATHS and KISSES
I just have a bit to say about these two: one seems a bit too less and the other a bit too much. Really, I think the deaths of Fred and Remus and Tonks were more important than Ginny and Harry’s kiss. That’s what I felt then.
Fred’s death was by far the most disappointing where showcasing of deaths are concerned. Seriously, it was the most painful death. It was Fred, for crying out loud. How come there was only the mere sight of his lifeless body? Lavender’s death was even more highlighted than Fred’s.
In a different light, though, I must say that I did like the representation of death in that part where Harry met with his parents and Remus and Sirius while on his way to face Voldemort–the picture of death being that of self-sacrifice. It was a splendid scene: the fear and the acceptance mingling together to create an entirely new concept of dying.
We have all known Harry to be the homeless, parentless boy who was orphaned at the age of one. So I guess we could understand the way families are treated with utmost importance in the entire novel. We are, after all, seeing everything from Harry’s point of view.
Hence, it didn’t come as a surprise that families were highlighted in this final film. The best part? The mothers in the movie exemplifying the different types of motherhood. There was Narcissa Malfoy, the utterly brave mother who could look Voldemort in the eye and lie about Harry’s death just so everything would end for her to get Draco back. It is a pure, however cowardly, type of love.
Of course there was Molly Weasley, who lost a child and a happy, secure life. Molly, who only wanted her children to be comfortable with matching maroon sweaters. Molly, who has so willingly accepted Harry into her family even with all the dangers he comes along with. I would have liked to see more of her, but understandably she can only hold so much glory. So to her, who put an end to the evil that was Bellatrix, the loudest of applauses.
And then there was Lily Evans. She who started all of this. She whose love allowed Harry to put an end to Voldemort. She who sacrificed herself for her son. I guess it’s a reflection of JK Rowling’s being a mother, the way she loves her kids, and the fact that on top of everything else, Harry Potter was created out of a mother’s desire to provide well for her children.
THE PRINCE’S TALE
David Yates proved again how much there is to understand with the characters and the story. He gave that before, with the famous Harry-Hermione dance. And he gave that again, this time in the Prince’s Tale part.
I loved how the scenes from his memories were shown in the exact way I have imagined them to be. And even more! The additional Snape-hugging-Lily scene was way too epic. It was a love story that started and ended at the same line. In fact, the whole “Prince’s Tale” surpassed its own book version. Alan Rickman could only give so much, that’s what I thought in the past movies. But in here, David Yates brought out from him what no other man could give: he made us fall in love with him after years and years of hatred.
And then finally, the epilogue. The part everybody dreaded and almost wished wouldn’t happen. It was sooooo subdued. Like the whole battle erupted and then went down to nothing, not even like an explosion that left still-smoldering burnt pieces.
There was only blackness, and then the words Nineteen Years Later.
(Sideline, sideline: I loooooooooove Harry’s kids!!!)
In all fairness, the same feeling at the time I was reading the epilogue was present when I was watching it. I felt like I wanted to hold all of them back so that the impending doom that was the ending would be delayed.
The capturing of that particular scene was both magical and Muggle-ish in a sense. Very ironic, as in being an exit from the Magical World and yet watching everybody else enter the premises.
And then the credits rolled and I was left hanging at those words.
I have already said lot and yet I feel like I could say a bit more. In the end, I’m just like everybody else: a child whose childhood was defined by Harry Potter. So maybe I’d still find something to say in the next months. Or maybe I’d just stay silent and relish the bittersweet feeling of seeing the last of Platform 9 3/4.
But one thing will always remain with me. One that has always presented itself in the books and the movies. A thought, an emotion that Dumbledore said would defeat all evils. Something that probably is the only reason I kept on coming back.
Until the very end.
Photos from: Rotten Tomatoes and Tumblr